Confidence, one of the keys to personal and professional success, happiness and well-being. Something which is equivalently important for women and men, for every person. Still many people experience difficulties with achieving a certain level of trust in themselves and this is what confidence is all about: trusting yourself. The word confidence even derives from the Latin word "confidere" which means "have full trust".
While taking a look at the situation of women, we experience how women for instance speak 75% less when surrounded by men and one of the reasons has to do with our confidence. But why are women more insecure than men? And is it even more? There might be aspects indulging in this phenomenon like being scared of your male companions at the table calling you bossy or difficult, the experience of being sexual harassed or bullied, trying to please others, which is again the need for perfectionism women are dealing with quite frequently or teaching girls at a young age to aspire marriage instead of motivating their skills and professional goals: all these aspects are reasons why women tend to be insecure in the first place.
So, even when I call myself a quite confident woman, there used to be moments in my life where I felt pretty uncomfortable and uncertain. My voice wasn't as secure anymore as usual, my body posture went from stable and bold to hunched and tensed up and the things that came out of my mouth weren't really the ones I actually wanted to say. We all experience a certain form of insecurity, some more and others less, and we all have the capacities to overcome it. Your mind is basically a muscle and they are ways to actively boost your confidence and improve your life quality in several ways. Now let me tell you how to do this:
Be aware of your strengths & achievements
Have you ever taken a moment to acknowledge the achievements in your life? We all have achieved something at some point. This may be you university diploma, travelling for the first time alone or even going alone for lunch, facing any kind of fear, changing your diet and getting healthier, perhaps you're very good at sports, speak more than one language, you're the first person someone calls when something happened because they trust you - there will be features about yourself which are amazing. Be proud of them.
Find out who you are and stay true to yourself
Don't change your opinion or act a certain way only because you want to impress the other person. Just don't. We're all constantly learning and growing. Therefore, reflecting upon a new point of view and adapting it to your mindset is something different than simply taking the same believe of the other person just to be "in". It takes guts to be the one who thinks different than the crowd and to stand against pressures of peer groups, but then ask yourself: do I even wanna spend my time with those people? Is this my kind of crowd? During our course of life we change, and also the ones we have close to us.
People will always find something to criticise you. As more successful you become as more people will tell you their opinion while not being even asked. When I started my own projects, I heard comments of others about what they find which should be done differently or what they thought wasn't right and would be better with/without. Well, then they should go off, start their own project and just do it themselves in their own way (at least that's what you have to think). There will be moments where you feel drained and those kinds of criticism won't be that easy to get off your shoulders, but stay positive and try to keep their insecurities away from you.
Dress to impress (yourself)
My looks defines a lot how I feel. When wearing the clothes I feel myself with and putting red lip stick on (my key to feeling boss), my whole confidence changes. It's not surprising to realize that when you wear something which doesn't sit right or isn't your style makes you feel uncomfortable, and those situations need to be avoided. The best way is to think about who you want to impress and in the best case that should be yourself.
Surround yourself with confident people
Women are more successful when they're having a strong network and surround themselves with other women who are also successful. And you know those people. They enter a room and you think, wow, what a charisma. Most confident people are seen as warm and positive. So, when you meet a confident person, don't feel inferior, rather transfer that energy over to you. We are the people we surround us with. Instead of feeling jealousy coming up, ask yourself: how does this person achieved to become this confident and how can I learn it?
Work on your body language
Stand tall, chest out and head high. One of the things my mother taught me from a very young age was to watch my body posture. But thanks to reasons like working too much on the computer, some of us tend to bow down. One way to keep your body posture healthy and strong is by placing sports on your time schedule. Also, when you talk to someone, look them directly in the face and stop looking to the ground or somewhere else where you try to "hide".
Work on your voice
Say what you want to say. Say it out loud and record it. Is your voice too quiet or the tone very high and pitchy. Mostly we need to take a deep breath, center ourselves and speak in a strong voice, crystal clear with a steady breathing. Think clearly about the things you want to say. Don't rush.
Don't compare yourself to others
In times of social media and the possibility to get a glimpse into other people's lives, people are dealing increasingly with anxiety and depression. What's important is to understand that a) social media users are presenting the positive moments and not those which aren't going that well and b) that you need to focus on yourself, and only on that.
"You are amazing. You are beautiful. You are capable of whatever you wanna do and even more." Take a moment and tell yourself positive affirmations. I know, it sounds and also feels weird for the first times, but seriously, it does the job. We're so stuck in our negative bubble of pointing out the aspects of ourselves we think should desperately be improved, that we forget what's all so incredible about us. So, take your time and love yourself fiercely, deeply and unconditionally.
Text by Bernak Kharabi